On March 15, 2017, President Trump released his FY 2018 budget blueprint titled “America First—A Budget Blueprint to Make American Great Again.” In addition to increasing defense spending by $54 billion, the blueprint proposes a $2.7 billion budget reduction for U.S. EPA. Highlights of U.S. EPA's proposed $5.7 billion budget include:
- Increased funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure projects, including $2.3 billion for State Revolving Funds;
- Discontinuing funding for the Clean Power Plan;
- Reining in Superfund administrative costs and emphasizing efficiency efforts which will allow the Hazardous Substances Superfund Account to be funded at a level of $762 million ($330 million below FY 2017 levels);
- Avoidance of duplication of efforts by concentrating U.S.EPA enforcement on programs not delegated to the States which will result in a reduction of U.S. EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance budget to $419 million ($129 million below FY 2017 levels);
- Reducing U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (“ORD”) budget from $483 million in FY 2017 to $250 million by focusing ORD on core environmental statutory programs in lieu of “extramural activities, such as providing STAR grants”;
- Reducing Categorical Grants to $597 million ($482 million below FY 2017 levels) by again focusing U.S. EPA on core environmental statutory programs and reducing Federal investment in State programs that go beyond U.S. EPA statutory requirements;
- Eliminating funding for specific regional efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and returning responsibility for those programs to State and local entities; and
- Eliminating more than 50 U.S. EPA programs including Energy Star, Targeted Airshed Grants, the Endocrine Disrupter Screening Program and infrastructure assistance to Alaska Native Villages and the Mexico Border.
Not surprisingly, the budget blueprint as it pertains to U.S. EPA has been widely criticized by environmental groups and will obviously be subject to negotiation as we move towards the next milestone which will be Trump administration's unveiling of a more detailed budget in May 2017.